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the suppressed demon, "I have served exactly eight-and-thirty years in the Strathbungo Highlanders, and I have only once seen a case of equal impertinence-it took place in the lines of Torres Vedras. I had a difficulty with the present commander-in-chief in India, and a duel was arranged. There was quite an excitement in camp about it, and cards of invitation were sent to the élite of the army. The Duke of Wellington did us the favour to be present with his staff. He had been good enough to say, 'I know M'Alpine; he will show sport.' My antagonist fired his first pistol in the air; my first shot took effect heavily in his shoulder. I insisted on a second pistol. Again my antagonist fired in the air. My shot was fortunate enough to carry away the thumb and forefinger of his right hand. Excited by the Duke's presence and evident satisfaction, I clamoured for a third pistol, when the chief of the medical staff, who happened to be present, permitted himself to remark, 'This is murder.' The Duke at once shut up the telescope which he invariably carried, and remarked, with his quiet precision, to the provost-marshal, 'Let this doctor be whipped;' and after my third shot (which perforated my antagonist's left lung and completely disabled him) we all adjourned to see the doctor flogged, and a good jellying he got; and I only wish, Mr. M'Nish, I had the power to order the same for you. As it is, M'Lean, as soon as the duel is over, close arrest for him. Solitary— irons! And now for the slugs. Your eye on me for the signal, Viscount, if you please. Ready!"

At this moment Dugald burst into the room like a wild buffalo, and bounding over the barrier, seized the Viscount by the waistband, swung him aloft, and proceeded vigorously to administer chastise

ment.

"That's richt, Dougal, ma man!" cried the Snorter, who had followed him in; "dinna spare him, the murdering villint; that's my speeceefick, ye lanlouper."

66

'Snorter," said the Colonel, "you shall answer for this before a civil tribunal."

I

"Ceevel treebunal, said ye? Bide a wee, ye auld worrycow. hae baronial poors, and I constitute this a coort o' the same; and since ye hae been guilty o' battery an' arson, a maist o' murther, forbye chippin' the king's palace, o' whilk I am keeper, wi' bullets, an' staining it wi' bluid; also a haerborin' theeves in the same-for that deevil's Sennacherib's pouches wus as fu' o' siller spunes as a doo's craw is o' peas an' chuckystanes-wherefore I micht hang ye, gif yer

ill-faured thrapple was worth waring the tow on, but being moved to clemency by the sufferins o' yer vile bodies, I shall saintence ye a' to be mulct in fower thousand punds Scots

"And

"Mulk awa, Snorter," cried Dugald, "I'll haud the pail." "Haud yer gab, ye misleared cuddy," said the Snorter. whereas I am crayditably informed that supper is noo sairved, and though yer a' geese, I for ane am nane o' M'Farlane's geese, wha liket their play mair than their vivers; wherefore, in virtue o' my poors, I fairther order ye to repair furth o' this chaamar to the saam, an' to eat an' to mawsticate the saam. God save the King!"

more.

"Ah! ve vill kees and be friends, and ve vill eat and get dronck like shongteelmans," cried the Viscount. "Monsieur le Colonel, I lauf you. M'Aleester, tu es mon ami; and Selinie-I daunot knaw no Monsieur M'Sneesh, I veel dreenk your woine-your blood? faugh! not at aal. Snortair, tu es mon fils; embrassez moi." He concluded by tearing off the Snorter's beard, and then removing his wig, shouted in the "navicular," "Wigs off! three cheers for Strathbungo and M'Nish of Tipperary!"

Wigs and beards at once flew into the air; spectacles and patches, the wreath of Selina, and the turban of Sennacherib (who promptly rose from the dead to supply it) followed suit. Lame legs danced, blind eyes opened and winked vivaciously; the Snorter spoke English and the Viscount Scotch, and all the geese (not being M'Farlane's) repaired, with shouts of laughter, to their vivers. Poor M'Nish's face-to describe its expression is beyond my power, and what his feelings were "I daunot knaw!".

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"A Secret of the Confessional."

BY HESBA STRETTON.

CHAPTER I.

For a period of some five-and-twenty years, a business connection had existed between my father, John Ashton of Manchester, and a French manufacturer, owning several cotton mills in Basse Normandy, whose name was Réné Clauzel. From the increasing importance of our transactions with M. Clauzel, it was evident that our French compeer was steadily prospering: much in the same way as ourselves-our own prosperity having reached a height attained by few, and surpassed only by three or four of our merchant princes. A few years ago, M. Clauzel, upon the occasion of his second marriage, spent a week with us in the neighbourhood of our wealthy city. From that time he was urgent with my father to pay him a visit in his remote corner of Normandy; but John Ashton had no taste for the discomforts of foreign travel, among a people of whose language he did not understand a syllable; and the thought of a sojourn, even for a few days, in the house of a French Papist, as he called M. Clauzel, with all the severity of a strict Protestant Dissenter, was repulsive to him, and equally so to my mother. With each year, however, the invitations of M. Clauzel became more importunate, and at length I suggested that a compromise might be effected by my father accepting them for me, his only son. M. Clauzel's reply to this proposal overflowed with French suavity. If anything could console him for the chagrin of abandoning the hope of receiving my father, it would be the happiness that would be bis when he welcomed his son. Madame Clauzel, he added, was dead; and he was again a widower, with two children, a boy and a girl. At first thought it seemed by no means a lively prospect to spend three or four weeks, M. Clauzel would not hear of less, in the home of a French widower with two children, and in a remote part of the province where tourists never dreamed of penetrating. But it was the early part of summer, and everywhere the country would wear the freshness of its first beauty. Manchester was putting off its winter mud for its summer dust, sultry and suffocating; and each morning as I encountered the din of its narrow streets I

longed, with an almost womanish longing, for a breath of sweet-scented country air, and an hour of serene country silence.

The railway carried me only to within ten leagues of my destination, and left me at six o'clock in the evening at Falaise, the terminus of the line in that direction. A carriage was waiting for me, a curious oldfashioned conveyance, with two horses, whose collars hung with tiny bells, kept up an odd, and somewhat pleasant jingle as they trotted leisurely along the roads, which passed over wide table-lands, and down into deep valleys, and up along the steep sides of the opposite slopes, until I began to wonder when we should reach the end of our journey. It was of course broad daylight when we left Falaise ; but I watched the sun go down behind an horizon of marvellous clearness, and the light linger in the sky, and die away in almost perceptible shades of falling darkness, until the driver was compelled to mount his lamp; and it was past eleven o'clock when we turned down an avenue of pine-trees, to which there was no gate, but which was plainly the drive to the château of M. Clauzel.

The moon had risen during the last hour, and was just showing itself above the pointed tips of the fir-trees, and was pouring upon the whole front of the dwelling such a flood of silvery light as we could never hope to see in England. It was simply a handsome French mansion, with the usual prodigality of windows, and glass-doors, and verandahs, and a broad terrace with steps leading down to a lawn, which was bounded by forest trees. Upon the steps stood a group awaiting my arrival, which I saw as distinctly as by daylight, yet with a certain atmosphere of uncanniness and weirdness about it, which I felt then, and feel still as I recall it. In the front stood M. Clauzel, an erect and vigorous old man, with long hair of the most blanched white, which seemed almost to sparkle in the strong light. A step or two behind him, and above him, was a tall and slender girl, dressed in pure white, and with a white hood drawn nearly over her face; while at her side stood a priest in his long, black robe, with a large hat completely concealing his features. A moment only the group stood thus; the next, it was broken up and changed. M. Clauzel hastened to meet me, the priest uncovered his head, and the girl introduced to me as Mademoiselle Clauzel, executed an exquisitely-graceful salutation, which made me feel an awkward Englishman to my backbone.

My visit proved more pleasurable than I had anticipated. The country round was a poetic, and an idealized Lancashire. There were picturesque cottages, with eaves six feet deep, and outside staircases,

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